Your pregnancy should fill you with joy, but some of the side effects you experience take some of the shine out of having a baby. There are a lot of ways you can feel ill or uncomfortable through this nine-month period. Some aren't serious; others require medical help.
One problem that worries some pregnant women is itching. If you're having this problem and you don't know why, then you may wonder whether you need to see your GP.
Why are you itching so much, and should you tell your doctor?
General Itching in Pregnancy
Pregnancy can slightly change the way your blood supply works. This can result in more blood coming close to your skin. If this happens, your skin can feel itchy and a bit prickly.
Plus, as you go through your pregnancy and your bump gets bigger, the skin on your stomach stretches to compensate. It may feel more sensitive. So, your clothes may make extra-sensitive skin feel itchy, especially if they are tight-fitting and rub against the skin.
General itching in pregnancy is irritating, but it's usually mild. It tends to come and go rather than staying with you all the time. You may find that applying lotions to your skin calms things down; wearing loose clothing as much as you can also makes you more comfortable.
You don't have to report the mild occasional itch to your GP. However, it may be worth mentioning the problem to your midwife or doctor next time you have a routine appointment at your clinic. They may have other ideas on how to control itching when it does happen.
Serious Itching in Pregnancy
While it's not common, itching can be a side effect of a more serious underlying condition for some pregnant women. If your itching is relentless and quite severe, then it may be a sign that you have a problem with your liver.
For example, some women suffer from a liver condition called obstetric cholestasis when they're pregnant. This usually happens late in a pregnancy. If you have this condition, you may notice that your hands and feet are the itchiest parts of your body and that your urine is a darker colour than usual.
If you think you may have a more serious problem, then make an appointment to see your GP or women's health care provider as soon as you can. Chances are that your doctor will be able to put your mind at rest. If you have an underlying problem like cholestasis, then your GP will want to monitor you.